Eighteen is pleased to present

A Dance Along the Artery

A solo exhibition by Kingsley Ifill


As a kid, my mother’s sock drawer was held in mind as a sacred place. It’s where secrets were stashed, along with anything small of sentimental value that you didn’t want to have lying around when someone would break in. As our first house, a little cottage tucked away in a corner from the street, would be burgled regularly, from what I can remember. The contents of the interior would get thrown around, as if the roof had been picked up and shaken, but I guess the robbers never thought to root through the underwear drawer. And therefore, it remained serving as a vault amongst socks and odds of underwear, and I’m sure in my mum’s current house, it still is.

By the time I was 7 or 8 years old, the drawer had grown into a legend between my siblings and I, that we were warned to keep out. Whenever my parents would leave the house or were in the yard, often the first thought that would come into our heads, would be, “Let’s check out the sock drawer”. Then one day I’m in there, and I find a note handwritten with Biro on HMP Prison headed paper. Quickly I realise it’s from my father, written to my mother, telling her everything is going to be fine and that he’ll be out soon. I never mentioned this to anyone at the time, and only a few since. Maybe I was embarrassed or ashamed. But now it has significance, as I mark this discovery as the first moment, where I realised reality wasn’t as it seemed. I thought my father had been there every moment of my life in that house, and then I realised that he hadn’t. And the worst thing about the whole flurry of thoughts, was that I didn’t remember. And then my mind began to wonder, as it’s still wondering today. What is reality? And if I search long enough, seek to see clearly and hard enough, will I find truth? And is my current truth, the real truth? I’m not sure, but I do believe this is why I’m interested in photography. The desire to see a moment more concentrated, more real, more alive, more intensely. Closer to that truth, if there is one.

Throughout the variation of mediums and processes within my practice, photography acts as the backbone, with everything else relating to it in some way. Acting as a continuous line, other mediums such as painting, printing, sculpture, and artist books, then bounce back and forth, with photography as the connection and mediator. With this exhibition, my intention is to blur this line and bring the mediums and processes closer together as one, despite their physical differences. Photography as painting as print as sculpture. The multiple dissolved into a unique object, as a nod to the singular moment in which the image within portrays, and a nod across to Antonin Artaud’s insistence that everything is the same.

- Kingsley Ifill, January 2023

A Dance Along the Artery lends its title from a line in T.S Eliot’s poem Burnt Norton, the first of the Four Quartets. It also carries a subtle reference to a passage in Henry Miller’s The Wisdom of the Heart:

”The art of living is based on rhythm, on give and take, ebb and flow, light and dark, life and death. By acceptance of all the aspects of life, good and bad, right and wrong, yours and mine, the static, defensive life, which is what most people are cursed with, is converted into a dance, “the dance of life,” as Havelock Ellis called it. The real function of the dance is - metamorphosis. One can dance to sorrow or to joy; one can even dance abstractly, as Helba Huara proved to the world. But the point is that, by the mere act of dancing, the elements which compose it are transformed; the dance is an end in itself, just like life. The acceptance of the situation, any situation, brings about a flow, a rhythmic impulse towards self-expression. To relax is, of course, the first thing a dancer has to learn.”

Kingsley Ifill was born in 1988 in Margate, UK. He lives and works in Paris, France and Kent, UK. Ifill’s recent major exhibitions include: Holy Island, with Danny Fox, Hannah Barry Gallery, London, UK, 2022, Play of Manners, Balice Hertling, Paris, France 2022, Eye For A Sty, Tooth for the Roof, with Danny Fox, Eighteen Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2021, Daily Cat Essen, Ruttkowski;68, Paris, France, 2021, Soul Swallower, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2019. Ifill publishes intriguing and beautiful books, zines, prints and various other formats via his own publishing house Tarmac Press. A selection of publications from Tarmac Press will be available in conjunction with A Dance Along the Artery. On the occasion of the exhibition Kingsley Ifill created an in-depth viewer companion that details the process of creation, available in gallery and online.